An article in the New York Times recently came out discussing the thoughts on e-mail as it relates to current college students. The article discusses the different perceptions of e-mail, concluding with students not being a fan and everyone else saying that it is a standard, yet continue to send messages that are not efficiently designed. While I think that many of us are using e-mail inefficiently, that is an entirely different discussion and blog post.
There are many gem quotes from those interviewed, including one person I look up to, Eric Stoller. For those that you do not know Eric, he consults colleges and universities on social media and communication. He first points out that perhaps that everyone has excessively large expectations of students when it comes to technology.
"We have this perception that because students are fluent with things like smartphones and downloading music that they are born with chips embedded in them that makes them technology wizards. They are no better at managing e-mail than anyone else." (Stoller, 2013)
Now, I agree with a lot of things Eric says. Not just this quote, but most of his Twitter keeps me motivated to keep exploring and writing (Thanks Eric!).
I do think that the expectations are set high of our incoming students. I think the bar is so high, that we in turn make assumptions that our students just know it. That is not a healthy habit to start/continue.
Assuming students just know technology is on the same level as saying that because we were surrounded by pencils, pens, markers, crayons, etc., that we are all writing wizards. Sure we could drag the pencil around on the piece of paper, table, wall, etc. and make scribbles, but we needed to learn how to write. Someone had to spend time and teach us to not only write, but understand what we were writing. All of a sudden, we were not only learning to write, but we were learning to read. Then someone spent time and taught us how to think about what we were reading and writing. Now it became a conversation of understanding or being literate.
Now, our smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc., are nothing more than fancy and expensive pencils and for the price tag we pay, it all does a little more than write. Sure we can scribble all over the internet, and we can think of a lot of examples of scribbling all over the internet. Do we have the understanding or is it all just scribbles on the wall? Are there people that are going to teach us how to "write"? Are we digitally literate?
I would be interested to look at the different perceptions of students using technology. More importantly, I want to know what students think. Do students know it as well as we think they do? Do they think we are making a lot of assumptions about them? Do they wish they had more lessons in using their technology?
Rubin, C. (2013, September 27). Technology and the college generation. The New York Times. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/fashion/technology-and-the-college-generation.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0&smid=pl-share
Success on a social media sight does not just happen. It is not like the field of dreams. The phrase, "Build it and they will come." is a far stretch from the reality of engaging on social media. Whether it is for your own personal branding or for a department/college/institution, a plan must be made long before you take any actions. Based on several posts, readings, and just conversations with folks, here is the strategy plan I developed through answering my own key questions.
Who is your target audience? When you go about crafting your content, who are you making it for? If you don't have a target audience, you are essentially just talking because you like to hear yourself. By being able to focus and be real small at first, you will be able to establish good practices for when it is time to expand.
What is the content that you are hoping to share? There is a wide variety of content that you can share with someone. A news article, a photo, information about the department, and even events coming up. It is this content focus that really helps determine your platforms/sites.
Who is going to manage the content? Some institutions have policies on who can be the administrator or even further, policies about how to become a institution official page. Are you going to be able to have students be the administrator? Is it going to have to be a full time employee? More than one full time employee?
What is your posting "schedule" look like? Post daily, twice a week, multiple times in a day, whatever. The most important part is to identify that you are going to post your content regularly.
What site/platform/tool are you going to use? Notice this is the fifth question, not the first. It is based on what you what to share, how often you want to share, and who is doing the sharing. Also notice that site and platform are single. Again, start small so you can develop the good habits. It is okay if you end up expanding your social media toolbox after a few weeks, but it should be determined by a need, not the fact that everyone else has everything. Remember your audience.
How is your process going to work? From finding the content, to crafting the message, to getting it out to your audience, there needs to be a process. Is this where you can allow students to assist? Do you provide extra training to extra hands? This is the piece that brings everything together and is the point when completed that you can say that you are ready to give this a shot.
It seems simple and common sense. How often do you find a page that ends up being abandoned, or the last post was from 4 months ago? To me, that is more catastrophic that not being on social media in the first place. It is a commitment, and a process. Most of all, it is one big strategy plan long before the first post goes out.
At the beginning of the month, Lifehacker posted the article, "The Tech Communter's Go Bag." The article outlined all the stuff someone has in their bag/backpack to succeed in life or work. I pondered for a little bit and thought that it would be fun to do a "What's in My Bag" challenge. The picture above is my bag. I use an Ogio Pagoda 15. I love it to death.
What's in My Bag?
I feel weird carrying my work laptop when I don't need to out of fear of breaking it, so I carry it when I need to, but I leave the accessories in the bag so I don't have to hunt them down. I also teach a class, so extra materials make their way into the bag, but not everyday. It seems like a lot of things, but it hardly weighs anything. If I ever get a personal laptop, it has a home waiting for it in my bag.
So that's the challenge, tell me what's in your bag! Either comment below, or if you write your own post, leave me a comment with a link!
As many students are coming back at school, many are coming equipped with laptops and tablets. This post will focus on how you as a student can optimize your productivity and work for classes with some apps. Nothing against those with Android Tablets, but this post is going to focus on the iPad.
While this is intended for students, anyone with an iPad could appreciate and use these apps for their work or personal life.
These are all based on my experience, if you have an app that you really enjoy and thing others will to, comment below!
ANY.DO - ANY.DO is actually for the iPhone, but it works fine on the iPad when you zoom in. It is a task managing app that allows you to organize by date or project. Quickly talk or type in the tasks you need to do. Swipe to check them off an clear them to your running scoreboard of completed tasks. For those of you that are motivated by the work you have completed, this is a must get.
CAL| Calendar for Living - Brought to you by the makers of ANY.DO, it is a very elegant and clean calendar that keeps you organized and integrates your ANY.DO tasks. One day, I hope both ANY.DO and CAL get updated for iPad.
Agenda Calendar 4 - By all means you can use the iPad's Reminders and Calendar to organize yourself, but Agenda Calendar 4 combines them both and imports your other calendars into a very clean and easy to navigate app. This one is a paid app, but is seriously worth it.
Note Taking Apps
Evernote - Create notebooks for each class, take notes, access them from your computer, Evernote is great for taking notes. Added web clipper allows you to add pieces of websites directly into your notes and has a audio recorder. You can then access all your notes from your computer using the website version of Evernote.
Drafts - Minimalist in design, but a very powerful notepad. Opens instantly into a new note so you can begin to type away. Once done taking notes, you have several options to share and export your notes to other apps you may use. You can also just archive the note within the app.
ScratchWork - A neat application that split screens your iPad so that you can look at online articles and take notes at the same time. It does not open other items as it is strictly a web browser, but it does help from having you swipe back and forth.
Miscellaneous Apps for Success
Dropbox - Cloud Storage, several of the apps above have an export function so you can save it to your Dropbox and then access from the computer. You can also set up Dropbox to hold all of the awesome photos you will take with your friends.
Google Drive - Storage like Dropbox, notes and files beyond Evernote. Google Drive for the iPad has the ability to create Google Doc files that can easily be downloaded to Word for final touches. Accessible from your computer. Share files and collaboratively work with group members to get your work done.
Feedly - Pull all the websites that you look at everyday into one site. This RSS reader picks up the new articles published from your favorite sites. It has become a great replacement for Google Reader.
Zite - Like Feedly, it collects your favorite sites, but it additionally will suggest sites and articles based on what you have indicated as a good article.
Pocket - Have articles you find or are sent, but don't have the time to read it right then and there? Add it to your Pocket. Pocket stores websites you send to it. Twitter and Chrome both have extensions that make it super simple to send links to your Pocket so you can read it later.
EasyBib - Working on references? Scan the barcode of the book and then have the bibliography information for the book. Additionally, it will organize it in APA, MLA, or Chicago format. Easy to then e-mail to add to your references section of your paper.
Haiku Deck - A simple, yet powerful presentation maker and presenter. Focuses on the use of high resolution images and minimal text so that you are the focus of your presentation. Create on the iPad and present either on your iPad, or access from the web.
You will notice that some of these apps are paid apps. I did my best to focus on free apps because they were free when I downloaded them. I have few apps that everyone should get. First is, Apps Gone Free. It let's you know each day what apps have become free beyond the "Featured App of the Week" There are always great finds each day that are FREE! I also recommend the free App Tracker, which lets you add any of these apps to your tracking list to see if they drop in price or become free. While it cost $2, I highly recommend AppAdvice for news, updates, and lists of the new apps and the ones that are on sale. I recently purchased AppAdvice and the first app I downloaded because of it paid for itself in savings.